Local authorities in Britain are responsible for a wide range of public services of which the most important are schools, social services, public housing, most roads, the fire service, refuse collection and disposal and a variety of local planning and environmental services. Local government spending now accounts for just over one-quarter of all public expenditure, and for just over ten per cent of GDP. For purposes of public expenditure planning and control, local authority spending is lumped together with that of central government under the heading general government expenditure. In this context, local authorities are treated as part of the government machine, their aggregate level of spending on services being determined according to central government plans for public expenditure as a whole.
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